Although poor sleep can impact cancer risk through a number of obvious mechanisms, scientists speculate that its drain on the immune system (your body’s anti-cancer and anti-infection system) is likely the most significant factor. A stunning (headline news) report from the January issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine hammered home how essential sleep is for optimal immune function.
In a nutshell – study subjects who slept less than 7 hours a night were almost 3 times more likely to catch a cold than those who slumbered for eight hours or more. Perhaps even more striking, study subjects with poorer sleep efficiency, 92% or less, were 5.5 times more likely to get sick! (Sleep efficiency is the percentage of time spent in bed actually sleeping.)
Based on all of the science I have reviewed, the 2 most powerful things you can do to maintain robust immunity are getting optimal sleep and getting regular (daily) physical activity. Incidentally, I firmly believe that getting optimal sleep is impossible without a certain threshold level of daily physical activity.
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